Time of Use Frequently Asked Questions

How is electricity use measured?

Electricity is measured in units known as kilowatt-hours (kwh). This is a product of watts and hours. A 100-watt light bulb burning for 10 hours equals 1,000 watt hours and will register on your meter as one kilowatt hour (100 x 10 = 1,000 watt-hours or 1 kwh).

What are typically the top three electric appliance energy guzzlers?

The appliances that use the most electricity in a typical month are heating and cooling systems (depending on season), electric hot water heater and your refrigerator/freezer. Costs for these three appliances can account for as much as 50 percent of your energy use. Installing programmable thermostats on your heating and cooling systems and your water heater can help control the amount of energy used and, therefore, reduce the cost of running these appliances.

What are on-peak and off-peak time periods for summer and winter?

Peak hours charts

What are the Time of Use Energy supply costs per kwh for on-peak and off-peak time periods for summer and winter?

Customers on Time of Use are billed on Basic Service with adjustments for electricity used during on-peak and off-peak times. Customers on Time of Use are rewarded with a credit for the amount of electricity used during off-peak times, reducing their bill. Customers on Time of Use receive an additional charge for electricity used during on-peak times.

SUMMER   Peak Charge Off-Peak Credit
Residential (per kwh) Rate Schedule 4 $0.06124 -$0.01125
Commercial (per kwh) Rate Schedule 23 $0.09350 -$0.01438
Irrigation (per kwh) Rate Schedule 41 $0.08004 -$0.01231
WINTER   Peak Charge Off-Peak Credit
Residential (per kwh) Rate Schedule 4 $0.03316 -$0.01125
Commercial (per kwh) Rate Schedule 23 $0.04365 -$0.01438
Irrigation (per kwh) Rate Schedule 41 $0.03737 -$0.01231
How is Time of Use billed?
The rates listed above are the on-peak and off-peak adjustments only. Charges for the energy supply, delivery service (i.e., Distribution and Transmission), taxes and other fees are included on your Time of Use bill. See Oregon rate schedules 4, 23 or 41 for more details.
When on the Time of Use program, which holidays are observed?
Holidays include New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Holidays are rated as off-peak all day for summer and winter seasons. All other holidays not listed are rated on the regular Time of Use rate schedule.
How much electricity does an average customer use on a monthly basis in Oregon?
PacifiCorp's records show that an average customer's electricity consumption is approximately 1,000 kWh per month. The amount of electricity you purchase each month is the result of two basic components. The electrical requirements of each appliance in your home (watts) and the length of time you use the appliances (hours). You can reduce your bill by either reducing the wattage of your appliances and/or reducing the number of hours you use each appliance. You may see additional cost savings on the Time of Use program, if you can shift the majority of your electricity use to off-peak hours.
Who will benefit from Pacific Power's Time of Use program?

The Time of Use program is a good option for a family that is away from home during swing shift hours. For example, an individual who works in the evenings (3 p.m. to 11 p.m.) would be a prime candidate for this option. They would be leaving for work before the on-peak evening hours and return from work during off-peak hours. Their "typical" evening hours would start after the on-peak time periods were over and any energy consumption (completing laundry, taking showers, running the dishwasher, watching TV, etc.) would be rated at the off-peak lower rates.

In comparison, individuals who are out of the home Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., are not the ideal candidates. The majority of their energy consumption during the week would occur during on-peak hours. These individuals return home at 6 p.m., prepare dinner, watch TV and take showers - all these activities are during the on-peak times with significantly higher costs. It is not enough to run your dishwasher after 8 p.m. and wash and dry your clothes on the weekend. To be successful saving money with this option, customers need to make a complete shift in how and when they use electricity.

If I lower my monthly energy consumption, will that be enough to save money on the Time of Use program?

Using energy more efficiently will definitely lower your bill if you remain on Basic Service. However, if you subscribe to the Time of Use option and you do not change when you use electricity, you could end up paying more each month. It's easy to determine if you are saving money on Time of Use by comparing the additional charge for electricity used during on-peak time periods, and the credit for electricity used during off-peak time periods. If the off-peak credit is more than the on-peak charge, you saved money that month. 

However, if the additional on-peak charge is more than the off-peak credit, you paid more for service that month. You should be able to easily determine if you saved money each month or if you need to make more adjustments to when you use electricity.

How can I shift my electricity usage from on-peak hours to off-peak time periods?

If you do decide to choose the Time of Use option, the following tips will help you shift your electricity to lower-cost, off-peak hours and save money.

Heating system

If you heat your home with electricity, your heating system can use as much as 50 percent of your total bill. Even gas and oil furnaces use electricity to operate the fans and motors. Set your programmable thermostat to operate the heating system during off-peak time periods or turn your furnace fan to "Auto" rather than "On" to save you money. Of course, a properly maintained system with clean filters and a properly insulated home will increase energy efficiency.

Air conditioning system

During the summer, central air conditioning and heat pumps are the largest energy user in your home. Take advantage of cool night and morning air by venting your home. If you are home during the day, try to reduce the use of heat-producing appliances such as the oven, range, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer. To save money, operate your cooling system before 4 p.m. or after 8 p.m., avoiding on-peak hours. A programmable thermostat can be set to avoid on-peak use. Again, always keep your filters clean and maintain the unit in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations.

Electric water heater

Set the water temperature to 120 degrees (some dishwashers require the temperature to be slightly higher - check with the manufacturer for your specific model). Add an insulation blanket if your water heater is located in an unheated space. Install a timer on the water heater and set it to go off before 6 a.m. If your water heater is old, consider installing a larger, high-efficiency unit. Also, insulate the first three feet of exposed pipes coming from the water heater.

Clothes washing & drying

Doing laundry on the weekend or after 8 p.m. during the week will save you money. Presoak clothes to get the same cleaning results with shorter agitation times. Use cold water for washing. A clothesline is a solar dryer that can help you save even more money. Consider adding a timer to turn on a pre-loaded washer or dryer during the off-peak periods. Make sure you only use the washer and dryer with full loads.

Storing foods

Try preparing extra meals on the weekends, pre-heating them as needed in the microwave. Use your microwave, a slow cooker or even your barbecue grill (in the summer) as money-saving alternatives to your range top and standard oven.

Lighting

Install compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Turn off lights in rooms you are not using. Dimmers can create a quiet mood during meals and save money. Prune trees and hedges away from windows so they don't block natural lights. Wait until 8 p.m. to turn on outdoor lights.

Dishwasher

Run your dishwasher after 8 p.m. and let your dishes air-dry when possible.

Small appliances & power tools

The habit of using your vacuum cleaner, iron or power tools during off-peak hours will help you save money. Save household projects, cleaning, repairs and remodeling for weekends OR before 6 a.m. and after 8 p.m. on weekdays.

Pool, spa & waterbed

Use a timer or manually operate your pool and spa pump and heater during off-peak times only. Cover your pool or spa to keep it clean and save heat. Spa covers should be well insulated. If you use a waterbed, make sure the frame sides are insulated and bed covers are kept on to retain heat.

If I take a shower during off-peak hours, would that mean my charges will be rated at off-peak charges?
Not necessarily. As hot water is drawn from the water heater (for showers, laundry, dishwashing, etc.) and more cold water comes in, the bottom thermostat senses a temperature change and directs power (electricity consumption) to the lower thermostat and lower element to warm the water. If hot water continues to be drawn, the cold water level in the tank will rise and the upper thermostat will sense the water change. It disconnects the power to the lower thermostat and element and directs the power to the upper element. Once the upper element has heated the water in the upper part of the tank to the temperature indicated on the thermostat, the upper thermostat turns the upper element off and redirects power to the lower thermostat, which then activates the lower element if sensing cold water. When the temperature of the lower part of the tank reaches the temperature indicated on the lower thermostat, the power is turned off. The water heater then uses no electricity until more hot water is drawn off or considerable time has lapsed. So, even if you use hot water in off-peak periods, the heating of the water may occur during the higher cost, on-peak periods.
How does the Guarantee Payment work?
Any participant enrolling between now and December 31, 2005, is eligible for the Guarantee Payment. If the participant's total ANNUAL energy costs incurred on the Time of Use program exceeds 10 percent over what the costs would have been for the same period on Basic Service, the net difference will be credited on the customer's bill following the last month of the 12-month commitment. The Meter Charge of $1.50 (total annual meter charge of $18.00) will be excluded from the calculation and will not be credited back to the participant. No Guarantee Payment will be paid if the participant terminates service before the end of the initial 12-month commitment. This applies to the first year a customer is enrolled on Time of Use only.
What reasons would I be denied enrollment on Time of Use?
Customers who have a time-payment agreement in effect on their account, have received two or more final disconnect notices or have been disconnected for non-payment within the last 12 months are not eligible for the program. In addition, customers with meter reading access problems will be denied eligibility to the program, until the issue can be resolved by working with Pacific Power's metering team.
Why must I have a special meter if I decide to sign up for this option?
The meter you have now tracks total kwh usage and does not track the time of day electricity is used each day. A new meter that collects usage information at intervals throughout the day is required to bill customers under the two Time of Use time periods (on-peak and off-peak), days of the week, and season.
Why is there an additional $1.50 charge per month on my bill?
In order to offer the Time of Use program, a special meter is required to track and transmit usage information for the separate time periods. The additional $1.50 charge per month is to cover a portion of the additional cost for the special meter, including meter installation charges.
When will my service start with this option?
Billing under the Time of Use program will begin on the day the Time of Use meter is installed. There may be a delay from the time a customer requests service until Pacific Power can install the meter, due to the amount of customers desiring the Time of Use option. However, our goal is to install the special Time of Use meter within a 30-day period. We will leave notification on your door when the meter has been installed.
Why is there a 12-month enrollment period and can I get out before the term has ended?
Due to the costs of the special meter, we need a commitment from everyone who decides to participate in the Time of Use program. The only way that participants can be released from the program before the end of the term is by moving from your current location.
If I am a participant in the Time of Use program, do I take the special meter when I move?
No. When you move from your current location, you leave the meter for the next resident or business. The new resident has an opportunity to enroll in the Time of Use program or they can request either Basic Service or enroll in a renewable power option.
If I am a Time of Use participant and I move from one Pacific Power serving area (i.e. Medford) to a different Pacific Power serving area (i.e. Portland), can I enroll in the Time of Use program?
Yes. You can enroll in the Time of Use option; however, you would be considered a new participant and the 12-month term would start over.
How will the Time of Use option be presented on my bill?

After your Time of Use meter has been installed and the meter reading has occurred, that information is sent to Pacific Power’s systems for billing. You will see all the usual charges for Basic Service on your monthly bill, and will also see three new line items.   

One line item will be your monthly meter charge of $1.50. The other two additional line items will be for your on-peak and off-peak Time of Use adjustments. You will receive a credit for the number of kwh of electricity you used during off-peak hours and an additional charge for the electricity you used during on-peak hours.